Friday, October 9, 2009

Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn

Summer Promise cover

Summer Promise
by Robin Jones Gunn

Trade Paperback: 161 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
First Released: 1988

Author Website

Source: Bought from

Back Cover Description:
As fourteen-year-old Christy leaves her family's Wisconsin farm to spend the summer at her wealthy aunt and uncle's beach home in Newport, California, she realizes this could be the best summer of her life. Her aunt is bending over backward to see that Christy's every wish is granted, the popular beach crowd is actually talking to her, and she catches the attention of a cute surfer named Todd.

But the Summer doesn't turn out as Christy hoped. Suddenly, she is faced with choices she's never had to make before, and the safe world that she's always known comes crashing down around her. Through it all, Christy struggles to keep her promise to her parents not to do anything she'll regret. But will she stop at nothing to get Todd, to be accepted, and to force her summer to give her everything it promised?

Summer Promise is a Christian novel for teens. It realistically portrays the temptations and pressures a teen faces when they want to fit in and be popular. The characters are likable. I enjoyed the book, but I felt like it really was written for teens rather than both teens and adults. (I bought the book for my 12-year-old goddaughter. I'll tell you what she thinks of it after she's read it.)

I don't think non-Christians would like this book. The Christian elements arise naturally in response to events in the novel, but they could come across as a bit preachy and confusing to those not familiar to with "Christianese" (short phrases Christians use to refer to larger concepts but which make little sense to those who don't already understand them).

Christy feels like her life is becoming a series of ups and downs and going out of control. She has grown up in a Christian family and always gone to church, but mostly it's a social activity. Now she has to decide whether to try other ways or make her relationship with God her own choice, a personal relationship, and surrender to doing things His way.

There was no explicit sex and any bad language was of the "he cussed" variety. Overall, I'd recommend this to Christian teens as well-written, clean reading.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
"I hate you! I hate you!" Christy Miller shouted at her reflection in the closet-door mirror. With a wild "Grrr," she wadded up her beach towel and heaved it at the mirror, watching it wobble and distort her lanky proportions.

"Christy darling?" came a shrill voice from the hallway. "Are you back from the beach so soon?"

"Yes, Aunt Marti." Christy grabbed a brush and pretended to be untangling her long nutmeg brown hair.

Her aunt, a slim, stylish woman in her forties, opened the guest-room door and looked around. "What was all the commotion, dear? Who were you talking to?"

"Nobody. Just myself." Christy answered calmly, trying to suppress the volcano of fiery emotions boiling within her.

"Why aren't you out on the beach, dear? It's a gorgeous day, and here you sit in your room, talking to yourself!" Aunt Marti dramatically pointed her acrylic fingernail toward the door. "You should be out there enjoying yourself!"

Christy bit her quivering lip and didn't answer.

"This is California! Live a little! We didn't fly you all the way from Wisconsin so you could spend the summer hiding in your room. Get out there and make some fiends."

Suddenly, the internal volcano erupted with great force, spewing words with hot tears. "I tried, all right? Christy choked. "I tried to get in with some of the beach kids, but they're all a bunch of snobs! I can't stand them! They're rude and mean, and they laughed at me."


Natalie W said...

Sounds like a great teen lit! I enjoy reading Christian lit sometimes. I'll have to add this one to my list.
Great review,
Natalie :0)

Genre Reviewer said...

Natalie W,

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm glad that you found my review useful and that I was able to introduce you to a new book you might like. Enjoy. :)